King Lear

Arkangel Shakespeare
Length: 3 hrs and 8 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (209 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This shattering drama of isolation and loss is one of the greatest tragedies in world literature.

King Lear of Britain has three daughters: the hard-hearted Goneril and Regan, and the good and gentle Cordelia. He determines to divide his kingdom between them, giving the largest share to she who can say she loves him the best. Lear's tragic lack of judgment and self-knowledge is paralleled by the blindness of the loyal Gloucester who is persuaded to reject his virtuous son, Edgar, in favor of the villainous Edmund.

Lear is played by Trevor Peacock and Gloucester by Clive Merrison. Penny Downie is Goneril, Samantha Bond is Regan, and Julia Ford is Cordelia. Edgar is played by David Tennant, Edmund by Gerard Murphy, and the Fool by John Rogan.

Public Domain (P)2014 Blackstone Audiobooks

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What listeners say about King Lear

Average Customer Ratings
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tragedy par excellence

one of Shakespeare's finest. the cast did a great job. I almost shed a tear. do good while you can while you breathe.

5 people found this helpful

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heartfelt rendition pulls no punches

A profound performance on every level. Peacock at his best with an unforgettable and uncredited turn by David Tenant.

1 person found this helpful

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Compelling performance

Fine dramatization, as good as BBC. I really appreciated the Lear voice. Some weird "blop-blop" music is arresting...

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Blame the medium here, not the play itself...

Plays are sometimes hard to follow without being able to see actors and staging, so on. It was sometimes difficult to know which character was speaking or necessarily what was happening. Still, Shakespeare is 10's and this production company (using members of the Royal Shakespeare Company) does 5-star performances

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Best listening

Arkangel Shakespeare is the only one I prefer it matches the Oxford book the best. Great discovery will only and always go with listening to Arkangel. Thank you.

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hard to tell characters apart

the voices are similar enough that King Lear and one or two others sound similar, and it became confusing. otherwise I liked it

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A tale of pain and loss

The story is a drastic starter and tragic ending with so many plot twists and story entwining between so many kingdoms and kings with sisters fighting for royal right and conspiring brothers.

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Incredibly Irritating

How could the performance have been better?

The actors in it all sound out of breath. There is somebody breathing heavily or smacking their lips with saliva every three seconds. It is so annoying. I don't know if it's for dramatic effect or the people who recored this do not know how to move away from the mic when they breathe.

Was King Lear worth the listening time?

This version was definitely NOT worth listening to.

Any additional comments?

Next time you record something move away from the mic when you breathe.

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Kniphofia
  • Kniphofia
  • 03-05-16

Heartbreaking

If you could sum up King Lear in three words, what would they be?

Humanity, godless, tragic

Who was your favorite character and why?

Edgar is one of the most difficult parts in the play, but David Tennant was very good.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

The whole cast was good.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Bawled my eyes out at the end.

Any additional comments?

The play translated surprisingly easy to audio. I've seen it many times in the theatre.

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for D. Oneill
  • D. Oneill
  • 06-01-18

Excellent

Thoroughly convincing adaptation of Shakespeare's exploration of senile decline and corrupting power. The blinding of Gloucester was as shocking in sound as it is on stage. Distinct voices permit tracking of characters even for those who, unlike Shakespeare's devotees, might not be familiar with the play.

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Profile Image for J. G.
  • J. G.
  • 07-05-17

Excellent

Very pleased with the rendition. All the characters well-articulated and dramatized, no difficulty following (and appreciating!) the whole.